Does radiation have an effect on radio transmissions?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Digger Fontaine, Feb 24, 2017.

  1. Digger Fontaine Registered Member

    I am an airline pilot. Over the past few years several pilots have noticed a pattern. Almost all Japanese airlines, when transmitting on their radios, have a high pitch background noise. They use the same radios as other airlines, yet only aircraft that spend a lot of time in Japan have this noise. The rumor is that the aircraft are being exposed to an abnormal amount of radiation, which is the reason for the background noise. Is this a feasible explanation?
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member


    As far as I can see there is (i) no reason to expect ionising radiation to alter the frequency patterns of a radio signal and (ii) there is no reason to think that aircraft in Japan are exposed to any more radiation than elsewhere.
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  5. river

    Really ?

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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Ionising radiation can change the threshold voltage (or requested gate voltage) of some kinds of transistors - that seems able to alter a digitally controlled frequency of a radio transmission, in speculative imagination.

    One would expect commercial airline radios to be hardened against that kind of damage, if it's significant - the heights they fly inevitably expose them.
  8. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    To you?

    Not a chance.
  9. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

    Since Japan does not have a particularly high level of radiation that cannot be the reason.

    If you have concerns talk to your union, forums are not your best choice for information.
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

    As a retired RAAF Radio Technician Ground - 4 years service

    Your statement of the rumour seems to imply the aircraft picks up the radiation while in China and it hangs around when the aircraft is in flight

    Unless the radiation has somehow damaged a component within the radios, which for various reasons I find hard to believe, that's a non starter

    Putting on my conspiracy hat I could envision a secret radio transmitter alongside the normal aircraft radios which take the normal aircraft radios transmissions and send them separately to the secret volcano hideout concealed at Lat Redacted (China)
    Lon Redacted (China)

    The radio transmissions can interfere with each other and produce such an effect

    You can't miss it the hideout if you go to those coordinates

    There is a large neon sign says Volcano hideout here and you may have time to glimpse the missiles coming up to greet you

    Pilots can cut out the high pitched noise by wearing my exclusive Tin Foil hat


    I do not have a Conspiracy hat

    But I do have a Tin Foil hat

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

  11. billvon Valued Senior Member


    1) All airliners are exposed to that radiation since they fly above most of the Earth's atmosphere. (That's why radiation exposure is higher for flight crews than for nearly any other occupation.) In fact, polar routes are a bit worse - and as far as I know Japan does not have any kind of a monopoly on polar flights.

    2) Radiation occurs at all different frequencies. Gamma radiation (most of what reaches aircraft) is at a completely different frequency than the HF, VHF and UHF frequencies aircraft use.

    3) While many things on Japanese aircraft are similar, there are a few differences. For example, Japan uses 50Hz 100 volts for seat power; that is slightly different than the 60Hz 120 volts the US uses.
  12. Xmo1 Registered Senior Member

    Radio's have something called band pass filters, that either filter out or allow frequencies (of sound) to proceed in the circuit. Could be that Japanese radios are made differently, because of some legal reason that prevents them from using high frequency band pass filters, or the elements that are used in their manufacturing process. I don't know exactly, but that might be part of it. Ask a radio expert.
  13. The God Valued Senior Member


    What you are implying is that....If an aircraft has spent significantly higher time in Japan, then the onboard radio system becomes chattery, irrespective of where it is flying, not necessarily in Japanese airspace?

    Aircrafts are same (Boeing or Airbus, mostly), Japanese airlines will of course spend more time (air+ground) in Japan than any other airlines, so what you are suggesting is that by spending more time in Japan the radio system goes bad.

    This must be reported to aircraft manufacturer, they will identify what all changes, especially in electrics, have been done for aircrafts supplied to Japanese airlines. The cause will be identified.
  14. TheFrogger Valued Senior Member

    What you mean radio-activity?

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